If price were of no
concern, every Socket AM2 user would pick up a motherboard utilizing nVIDIA's
nForce 590 SLI chipset. Unfortunately in reality, price can often get in the way
getting those shiny flagship parts... Never fear though, you can still get top
of the line performance if you go with nVIDIA's sleeper chipset, the nForce 570
Essentially, the nForce 570 SLI is just missing a few
PCI Express lanes for videocards and some advanced networking technology that
the nForce 590 SLI boasts. Otherwise, the two are nearly identical.
The socket AM2 MSI K9N SLI Platinum motherboard comes with a whole
host of goodies which include dual Gigabit Ethernet connections, IEEE 1394, an
8-channel High Definition Azalia compatible audio codec, six Serial ATA II ports
and of course the board is SLI compatible! There are plenty of upgrade options
via the two open PCI Express x1, three 32 bit PCI slots and 10 USB 2.0
In terms of
performance the MSI K9N SLI Platinum motherboard did very well in every test we
threw at it. In office based applications the systems are in a virtual dead heat
and would be mainly user limited. Even with only 16 PCI Express lanes to go
around, the K9N SLI Platinum board handled the 3D tests without breaking into a
sweat. It demonstrated that it's easily capable of keeping up with nForce 590
SLI-base motherboards. It's possible that as videocards advance, the PCI Express
lane handicap will start to become noticeable, but for the time being it's
definitely not apparent with current generation videocards.
MSI and overclocking go together like milk and cookies,
and in this regard the K9N SLI Platinum did extremely well. In fact it is the
fastest Socket AM2 Athlon64 motherboard tested to date, hitting a maximum speed
of 294 MHz! If MSI only included chipset voltage adjustments, a 300+ MHz
motherboard clock speed might have been possible with the AMD Athlon64 FX-62 chip. All this and the motherboard is
dead silent thanks to its passive chipset heatsink.
With a retail price of $158 CDN ($140 USD, £75GBP), the
MSI K9N SLI Platinum motherboard is an absolute steal, offering an excellent mix
of performance and value. If you're looking for a well rounded Socket AM2
motherboard, look no further!
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